HAPPY NEW YEAR!We all know it, we all do it, every single year, over and over again: new years resolutions. Let’s be honest, how many times were you thinking about something and definitely planning on doing but then ended up not achieving it? I know it’s frustrating and we’ve all been there at some point. Many people actually plan on changing their life: trying to live a healthier and more active lifestyle, or signing up for a gym membership, etc…but when spring comes around the corner, well let’s say it is not our number one priority anymore, right? But how can we change something that actually lasts? Are we able to create new habits and how does it work?
Personally, I wasn’t always as active as I’m now and change doesn’t happen overnight. I set SMART goals and decided to change my lifestyle step by step and day by day. The following 8 Tips helped me a lot and I thought now might be a good time to share them with you:
1. TAKE THE STAIRS
This one is a simple and small change with a big impact: Try to take the stairs more often instead of using an elevator, no matter if you are at the airport, in your office or at home. I’m not saying walk up to the 110th floor but maybe try to climb 5 floors and take the elevator for the rest. At an airport the stairs are usually not as high as in tower buildings so why not use them? No matter how long my flight might be, I always try to walk around as much as possible before. If you are in a department store, take the stairs. You are visiting your friend who lives on the 4th floor – awesome, try to take the stairs next time.
2. START COOKING
I’m not saying you should become the next Martha Stewart, but I can highly recommend learning the basics. Not only the basics in the kitchen, but also try to gain knowledge about your food. Where does it come from? How do I prepare it best without waisting or destroying all the minerals? What kind of fruits and vegetables do I really know? What is in my kitchen? Try to start this one slower and do not eliminate all the food you have cravings for at once – it usually won’t work long. If you start cooking, try to cook with fresh and raw products, it is really easy and fun. Buy local veggies and fruits, take a good look when it comes to meat and fish and know the ingredients if you decide to use a ready-to-eat sauce. I personally prefer simple meals with fresh ingredients, cooked and prepared by myself. Start eating with consciousness and enjoy your food. I’m sure you don’t have to be a chef to prepare a healthy lunch which could contain fish, potato and broccoli, right? Shop locally and fresh, and definitely try to avoid highly processed food.
3. MEAL PREPARATION
Meal preparation basically means you cook and prepare your food for example for 5-7 days in advance. Instead of cooking one chicken breast, you can cook 6 at the same time. Instead of cooking only rice for one meal, cook rice for 6 meals. I prepare my meals on a Sunday or Monday so I’m done for my dinner or lunch meals during the upcoming week. You don’t have to eat the same meal every day – be creative. You can easily mix the components as you wish. Rice, turkey and a mix of vegetables or fish, sweet potato and quinoa. You’ll get used to this routine after a while. I store my cooked food in the fridge and freezer, it really depends on the days. And I already prepare each meal in a separated box. Bonus: There is always something prepared at home, which was cooked by yourself so you do know the ingredients very well and you’ll save money here as well.
4. DRINK MORE WATER
Why don’t you start with replacing your soda with water or herbal teas? It sounds like a small change but it might not be the easiest one. Most of us are used to their soda drinks during the day. If it’s too hard, try to replace it for 3 days a week first. During the following week try to replace it for four days and so on. If you are not a huge fan of plain water, add lemons, cucumbers or even fruits into it for more flavor and fun – be creative! One of my favorites are cucumber with mint, lemon and lemon with blueberries. If I have really intense sugar cravings and I’m not hungry I usually prepare myself a nice large cup of fresh herbal tea and add a tiny bit of honey into it. Yummy!
5. HAVE BREAKFAST
This one might look similar to point 2. Take the time in the morning and have breakfast at home. I love having a nice and healthy breakfast as it gives me the perfect start into my day. Personally, I’m obsessed with oatmeal. I usually have oatmeal every morning with fresh fruits or frozen ones heated up in coconut oil and cinnamon on top. Plus coffee!! I don’t add any sweetener into my coffee – I used to add 2 spoons of sugar in the past, but I reduced it every day a little bit and after a month I didn’t have to use any at all. I still can’t believe I enjoyed my coffee that sweet. If you are in a rush, take a homemade smoothie with you. I always get more fresh fruits than I need and I have always some frozen ones in the fridge. Put some milk of your choice in a blender, add the fruits, a little bite of baby spinach, almonds and a pinch of turmeric, blend it, and you are ready to go with a healthy snack in your hand. Bonus point: You’ll save money! Making your meals at home in larger quantities is cheaper than buying stuff at a store.
Go out and enjoy being active! Find out what kind of sports you really like and enjoy and what you don’t like. It doesn’t matter if you decide to run every single day for a while, or if you decided to hit the gym. It is totally up to you. Grab a friend and do it together, go to a group fitness class, or try yoga or kickboxing with your partner. After you’ve found something you actually like, try to incorporate it as an every day routine into your schedule. Let’s say you decide to hit the gym every day for one hour. Congratulations, that’s an awesome decision! Now, if you want to stick to it for a long time or forever, you’ll need a plan. Set a time and go at this time to the gym. Let’s say every day at 7:00 pm. Write it down in your calendar – see it as an important meeting with yourself. The next step: Have a plan! Always make sure to plan your workout session before you go there, we don’t want to enter a gym without a plan, right? Hire a personal trainer (Hello there!) to help by designing the optimal workout regime for yourself. After a couple of months your 7:00 pm appointment feels like a “normal” habit. You actually start looking forward to this special time. Enjoy moving and enjoy sweating.
7. “ME TIME”
Make yourself a priority. Stick to your plan and your new routine. Try to take 30 min. off from everything and do what you like. Write in a diary, read a new book, have tea or whatever makes you happy. If possible, turn your phone off and enjoy the time just for yourself! And no, this is not selfish – this is self-care! I prefer spending my “me time” in my bathtub, reading a book.
8. EASY MORNING
Prepare everything you’ll need the next morning on the night before. Pack your gym bag, think about the clothes you would like to wear and place them into the bathroom, look for your shoes, keys, wallets,… and everything else that is important for the day and place it all together. When you get up the next morning your day is already more organized and you’ll notice that you feel much more relaxed. The time you have won (thanks to organizing and planning) is a great time to spend on your breakfast. Grab your packed stuff and you are ready to go.